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Fiction Groupie Archives

These are my writing posts from my former blog, spanning 2009-2012. To see new writing posts, click on the blog tab above. To see these archived post organized by topic, click "For Writers" above.

Entries in author platform (5)


The Life Cycle of a Blogger - Ten Stages


Wash Rinse Repeat
Photo by Bill Stilwell

So lately there have been a lot of posts about blogging fatigue, twitter promotion overload (here and here), and the state of blogging in general. Also, many bloggers seem to have hit the overwhelmed point and are either thinking of stopping altogether or doing some major readjusting. And as I read through these posts, I often found myself nodding my head because I share many of the sentiments.


I've been blogging for almost 2.5 years now and have been on twitter about a year and a half. That's a lot of posts (both writing and reading.) And there are some days where it's still totally fresh and exciting; there are others where I want to crawl in a cave and forget all of it. There are also days where I find myself rolling my eyes at the constant promotion some people do or the same topics for blogs getting recycled over and over again.

But I realized as I was reading everyone's posts that many of us are in a certain stage of our blogging careers. When you've done something for years, there are bound to be points where you feel burnt out or annoyed or totally overwhelmed. And you may vacillate back and forth between those stages.

But for those of us who maybe have hit the cynical stage, we need to remember that every day there are new writers and new bloggers entering the blogosphere. It's all new to them. So a post on not using adverbs may be the hundredth one you've seen, but it may be another writer's first. And it will be an epiphany for them.

It's kind of like high school. When you're a senior, you look at the freshman and think--wow, I can't believe they're getting excited over that. But when YOU were a freshman, you had that same enthusiasm because it was new to you.

So I think it's important to recognize that, like anything else, blogging/social networking is a cycle. We're going to find ourselves in different parts of it at different times.


The Life Cycle of a Blogger - 10 Stages

Image via Daily HaHa

1. Bright, shiny newness. 
OMG, look at all this information that's out there for FREE!!! And look at all these cool people who want to be writers too! I must follow everyone I meet and we're all going to be BFFs and I'll comment on all of my friends posts because I want to be supportive and want them to comment on mine. And this is going to be amazing!


Dog chillin' with red sunglasses
Photo by Rollan Budi

2. People are following me! I must be a totally killer, kickass blogger.
I must blog every day because people will wonder what happened to me otherwise and they won't be able to function in their day if they don't hear from me. They like me, they really like me.




3. Lucy in the candy factory.
Wow, it sure takes a lot of time to answer every comment and to visit every blog in my blog roll and leave a comment for them. And boy, my twitter feed is scrolling by at the speed of a CNN ticker. And crap, I need to write an apology post for not being a great blog friend and must promise to do better! *stares at unfinished manuscript*



Head in Hands
Photo via Alex E. Proimos


4. Breaking down.
I need to take a blog vacation or an unplugged week or go to Mexico for a month because I'm not getting anything done and there's all this PRESSURE to blog and build my platform.



Photo by Nate Steiner

5. AHHH! Panic
Oh no, my Klout score has dropped and my follower numbers have stagnated. I'm barely getting comments! I must get back on the wagon because I must build my platform. But I don't know what to blog about anymore. I'm out of ideas. What am I going to do?



Crazy Sister

Photo by joseloya

6. Mania
I can do it all. Of course I can. I can be a parent and a spouse and a blogger and a writer and keep a clean house and pay my bills. Oh yeah, and write books and get published, because that was the point in the first place, right?



photo via BaileyRaeWeaver

7. Screw it All
I'm quitting. Blogging doesn't sell books anyway--especially ones I don't have time to write--so why bother? I need to dedicate my life to my art and writing alone. I need no one! No one I tell you!



Pioneer Zephyr Train

Photo by Mr. T in DC

8. Reinvention/Streamlining
Okay, so maybe I do need someone. I miss my writer buddies. I'm going to redo my blog schedule. I'm going to take the pressure off myself. I'm going to talk about things that excite me. I'm going to stop apologizing for not being the "perfect" blogger or blogging friend.


Photo by Tim Pierce

9. Fatigue with a dash of cynicism
Why are the same posts being re-written over and over again. It's all been said before. And would people just stop freaking tweeting about their books and promoting themselves non-stop?! I want to stab everyone with a fork. My online world sounds like blah blah blah white noise.




Photo by Scarleth White

10. Finding the sweet spot 
I'm only going to do the online things I enjoy. I'm only going to read/interact/participate in the things I have time for and like doing. There are always people coming up with fresh content, I just have to be open to looking in new places. There is always something new to learn and a new friend to make.


I have to say I've probably stopped in at each of these stages at some point. I hang out at 6, 8, and 9 a little too often probably. :)

So how about you? Do you recognize yourself in any of these stages? Where are you at right now? Have any stages to add?



"Revved up and red-hot sexy, CRASH INTO YOU, delivers a riveting romance!" --Lorelei James, NY Times Bestselling author of the ROUGH RIDERS series


CRASH INTO YOU is now available for pre-order!

Read an excerpt here.


All content copyright of the author. Please ask permission before re-printing or re-posting. Fair use quotations and links do no require prior consent of the author. ©Roni Loren 2009-2011 |Copyright Statement|



How I Built My Platform and What I'd Do Differently

Hey guys, I've been interviewed over at Laura Barnes' blog for Savvy Sensation Saturday about building an online presences, social networking, and what's worked and failed for me. I'd love for y'all to stop by and say hi!

Hope everyone has a great Saturday!

“...a sexy, sizzling tale that is sure to have readers begging for more!" –Jo Davis, author of I SPY A DARK OBSESSION

CRASH INTO YOU is now available for pre-order!
Read an excerpt here.

All content copyright of the author. Please ask permission before re-printing or re-posting. Fair use quotations and links do no require prior consent of the author. ©Roni Loren 2009-2011 |Copyright Statement|


Fill-Me-In Friday


It's that time of the week again to round-up my favorite links of the week! But first I want to direct you to a guest post I'm doing today over at the fabulous Writers in the Storm. I'd love if you could stop by and leave a comment! 


My Guest Post:


Okay, now on to the links...

On Writing:
Heartbreaking Borders Photo via GalleyCat -- This gave me the sads.
Twenty Obsolete Words That Should Make a Comeback by Matador Network. <--These are full of awesome.
When the Going Gets Tough at Writer Unboxed 
So How Am I Doing? (the difficulty of tracking your book sales and how Amazon rank doesn't mean much) by Books and Such Literary Agency
The New Facebook Subscribe Button at Mashable -- great explanation on who should use it and how
Happy Endings by Sierra Godfrey
What You May Have Missed 'Round These Here Parts:
(And even if you're not into the pics, the post is worth reading for my husband's comment and answer to this question at the bottom of the post.)
September 12 - 16, 2011

So those are my favorites of the week--what were some of your favorite links out there? It's your turn to fill me in. :) Hope everyone has a great weekend!



“...a sexy, sizzling tale that is sure to have readers begging for more!" –Jo Davis, author of I SPY A DARK OBSESSION



CRASH INTO YOU is now available for pre-order!

Read an excerpt here.

All content copyright of the author. Please ask permission before re-printing or re-posting. Fair use quotations and links do no require prior consent of the author. ©Roni Loren 2009-2011 |Copyright Statement|



Fill-Me-In Friday


First, I want to say to those of you on the east coast, stay safe and our thoughts are with you. Growing up in Louisiana has left me with more than my fair share of hurricane experiences and evacuations, so I know it's a scary thing to go through.


All right, now on to my favorite links of the week.

On Writing:

7 Lessons I Learned by Starting Over Blogging by Jeff Goins via ProBlogger

Platform 101 for Regular (Not Famous) People Like Me by Erin MacPherson via WordServe Watercooler

Author Advances: Is There Such Thing As Too Much? by Rachelle Gardner

RIP the Author Book Tour--and why you shouldn't be sad to see it go by Anne R. Allen

The Screwy Evolution of Author Fears by Tawna Fenske

Is Your Blog Eating You Alive? by Jenny Hansen at More Cowbell

Organization For Creative People--Why You're Brain May Be Keeping You From Getting Things Done by Kirsten Simmons

The Writer's Life - On the Edge of the Cliff of Insanity by Beth K Vogt via WordServe Watercooler

The Myth of the Lone Creative Genius by Dr. Liz Alexander via Jane Friedman's blog

Top Ten Reasons to Become a Writer by Kristen Lamb

From my Author Blog:

What You Might Have Missed Here:

So what was your favorite link of the week? It's time to fill me in. : )  Hope everyone has a great (and safe) weekend!


All content copyright of the author. Please ask permission before re-printing or re-posting. Fair use quotations and links do no require prior consent of the author. ©Roni Loren 2009-2011 |Copyright Statement|


Writer Under Construction - 10 Things I'd Do Differently


I feel like over the last few months (and even now) I should have yellow and black construction tape wrapped around my head. Just like anything else in life this whole being a writer thing is a learning process. You do the best you can as you go along and do better when you know better.

Construction Signs

Photo by jphilipg


And the hard part is that no one is really sure what the right way is anyhow. There's a lot of advice out there (including the stuff on this here blog). But for every post you find, you can find one contradicting it. It's both beautiful and terrifying that there is no definitive way to do things.

And this is most evident when looking at advice for building your platform and blogging.

Some things you'll hear out there...

Don't just write about writing because you're only reaching other writers. 

Write about writing because readers aren't visiting author blogs anyway, so you should hook into the network of writers.

Don't get a website until you have a book to sell.

Have a website when you start querying because agents will look you up.

Don't do group blogs because no one will know your name.

Do group blogs because it will free up more time for writing.

Social networking is the only way to be a successful authors these days.

Social networking doesn't matter, the only thing that counts is writing a good book.

You must have your blog on _______ (fill in the blank) --wordpress, blogger, your own domain, tumblr

And the people behind each of these views have totally valid points to back up their case. So I can't tell you who is right or wrong. But I will tell you what I've learned in my two years of blogging and along the journey of going from very pre-published to preparing for my debut.

How I'd Do Things Differently If I Did It All Over Again

1. Build your blog where you want to keep it.

This is the one that has caused be much grief these last few months. I built this blog on blogger. And I like blogger. I find it an easy, no-fuss blogging platform. I also like the community on blogger and love the people I've met over here. However, blogger isn't really set up to integrate with a real website once you have one. And moving your followers (and archives and permalinks) to a new place (unless you move to Wordpress) is pretty much impossible from what I can tell.
This doesn't feel like a big deal when you're just starting out and are happy to have fifty followers. But blogs can grow fast. I've pretty much locked myself into blogger now unless I want to start all over again. So that's why I've had to move to maintaining two blogs.

2. Don't limit yourself to one kind of topic like writing.

This is one Kristen Lamb has talked about recently. And I tend to agree. I made this a writing blog. I'm happy I did and I don't think I would have built the following I have if I had started up a blog without a unified focus. However, this approach does box you in a bit. When I wanted to start stretching so that my posts appealed not just to writers but to non-writing readers, I was left in a bit of a quandary. Some of you would be totally fine with me putting both romance-y posts (like my Boyfriends of the Week) mixed in with the writing stuff. And honestly, if I could've figured out a way to merge and move my blogs, I probably would've done that. But I also know many of you aren't really coming here for that type of posts and are only here for the writing stuff. It would've been a bit of a bait and switch. So that's why if I had to do it over again, I'd still blog about writing, but I'd mix in the other stuff as well from the very beginning so that everyone knew what to expect.

3. Only do the social networks you enjoy.

There is so much out there to connect with. I feel like sometimes it's like being in a bed strapped to all those machines and tubes in a hospital. Except all the wires are attached to our brain. It can become too much. So pick which social networks you like the best and focus on those. I like blogging, twitter, and tumblr. So that's where I put my effort. Yes, I'm also on facebook and google+ and goodreads, but anything I post at any of those is really just a feed from my other sites. If I totally dialed into all of them, I'd never get anything else done.

4. Think hard about the kind of books you want to write and what that author brand would look like.

This isn't always possible. I started out writing YA and ended up getting pubbed in erotic romance. o.0 Yeah, I know. Big leap. But this also meant my brand kind of shifted midway through. I'm always me, but I'm talking more about topics I covered and the "look" of my websites. I'm getting pubbed in dark, erotic romance and I had this bright, colorful Fiction Groupie blog. It didn't really jive. So that's why I eventually changed it to match the feel of my website. So if you know you're going to be writing dark horror, don't build your site with sparkles and puppies. You're not going to attract the people that are actually going to want to read your book.

5. Do hook into the community of writers.

I actually got this one right. Writing can be a very solitary act. I don't know if I'd have survived it through writing my books if I hadn't found lovely writer friends and crit partners. This is by far the best thing about blogging and social networking.

6. None of it matters if you're not writing and working on your craft.

Duh. I know. But it's SO easy to get so caught up in the social networking that you start sucking up your writing time. I have fallen into this trap because I love blogging and twitter. But writing has to come first. This is why I've been shifting around my blog schedule so often lately as I try to find the right balance.

7. Put your name on things and reserve your web domain early.

When I started I was just Fiction Groupie. I didn't want to put my name out there and *gasp* have people actually know that I was attempting to write something. What if I failed? But this was a mistake. You are your brand. Kristen Lamb says it best when she says, you can't go into the store and look for a book from Fiction Groupie. People need to know your name. Otherwise, what brand are you building? (And you'll notice I put the Fiction Groupie title back at the top this week. But I have my name on top. Now that I've decided to keep this a writing blog, I figured it needed it's name back to decipher it from my author blog.) 
As for web domain, go into this with the expectation that you will one day be published. You don't want to miss out on having because you didn't spend the twenty bucks a year it costs to reserve it. So get thee to a service like Go Daddy and spend a few bucks to hold on to that name. 

8. If you plan to use a pen name pick one and use it early.

Made this mistake too. I used my real name for the first year that I blogged. Then when I decided to write erotic romance and wanted a pen name, I had to change EVERYTHING. Domains, email addresses, facebook, twitter, yadda yadda yadda. It was a major pain. Luckily, I kept my first name so everyone knew me as Roni and that didn't change. But on the logistic side, it was a bit of a nightmare.

9. Trust your gut and weed through advice.

Sometimes you (and by that I mean I) can get caught up in the "expert" opinions. Like I said at the beginning of this post. There is not RIGHT way to do things. Read the advice that's out there and then use what resonates with you. Different things work for different people. No one thing is going to work for everyone. So take things as guidance not gospel. (There is irony in me giving advice about not taking all advice. Hmm.)

10. Don't be afraid to ask for help.

I'm a control freak. That's not going to change. I tried a group blog on Tumblr and it quickly fell into feeling like I was back in high school working on a group project where I wanted to keep everyone on task. Not good. However, I knew when I decided that I was going to keep this blog on writing while maintaining an author blog as well that I was going to have to ask for help.

So this is where I get to the exciting news part of this post (if you've made it this far in this LONG post, lol). I am implementing a new feature here on Fiction Groupie. Every Monday we are going to have regularly occurring guests who are authors in genres other than mine. They are author friends who I know are great at posting about writing craft and publishing and I am SO excited to be bringing people with fresh and different perspectives to the blog.


So here's what the new schedule is going to look like starting next week:

Monday: Guest post from one of our Monthly Genre Columnists 

Wednesday: Writing/Publishing Post from me 
Friday: Fill-Me-In Friday -- best links of the week 
Tuesday and Thursday, I'll be posting on my author blog.

So join me in welcoming our five new stellar guest contributors!



♥ Julie Cross - YA Debut Author
(first Mondays)
♥ Ashley March - Historical Romance Author
(2nd Mondays)
♥ Suzanne Johnson - Debut Urban Fantasy Author
(3rd Mondays)
♥ Joan Swan -Suspense/Thrillers - Debut Romantic Suspense
(4th Mondays)
♥ Sierra Godfrey - Women's Fiction & Marketing
(5th Mondays)
See all their bios and books here!


I hope that you all are as excited as I am about the new re-re-re-revamping. :)  Thanks for sticking with me through all my changing as I continue to figure things out as I go along.

Now, I'd love to hear what you've learned since you started this whole writing thing. What would you do differently? Do any of the points on my list scare you? Oh, and if anyone knows any brilliant way to combine my blogs all onto my squarespace and still keep followers and archives, let me know--I'll love you forever.

  All content copyright of the author. Please ask permission before re-printing or re-posting. Fair use quotations and links do no require prior consent of the author. ©Roni Loren 2009-2011 |Copyright Statement|